SAG, AMPTP Reps Table Face-To-Face Meeting

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A small delegation from the Screen Actors Guild will meet with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Wednesday, but the producers union made it clear that the meeting will not change its contract offer to the actors.

“Out of respect for the SAG membership, the AMPTP has agreed to the meeting but has made it clear that the meeting will be solely for the purpose of listening to whatever SAG has to say,” the AMPTP said in a prepared statement.

SAG has already twice delayed stating officially whether it accepts or rejects the contract offer from the producers, which has benefits and compensation similar to the pacts already accepted by Hollywood writers, directors and the industry's other actors union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. It includes new benefits for the use of video content that is reused on the Internet, among other compensation changes.

AMPTP asserts that SAG introduced new issues—such as compensation for product placements in shows in which members perform—late in the negotiating process.

Support for a possible work stoppage is mixed, based on comments by actors who have promoted their work during the last week at the meeting of the Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills. Former SAG president Ed Asner said if push came to shove, he’d vote in favor of a strike. However, he was quick to add that his view differs from the majority of SAG members.

Don Cheadle said that the union “gave up the farm” on residuals during the last contract negotiations three years ago, referring to a residuals formula that many actors feel is too low.

Non-headliner actors rely on residuals from their work to make it month to month, he said, but he also noted that another work stoppage would hurt other professions, not just actors.

“I hope we can come to some sort of an agreement without a strike,” he said.

Tom Arnold said, “Nobody wants a strike…when actors start getting involved and taking sides and giving opinions…just let (the negotiators) work it out.”

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